Unity has seemingly been something of unattainability in recent years. In light of many tragic events and political campaigns, issues have risen that have only further divided a country when, in fact, such events call for unity all the more. In an effort to provide a united front and inspire the men and women in emergency medical services (EMS), this year’s EMS Week settles its focus upon EMS Strong. As the focal theme of this year’s EMS week from May 20-26, the message of EMS Strong hopes to not only honor the work done by EMS professionals but to also promote a united front that helps convey to our great nation how—no matter individual differences, viewpoints, perspectives and backgrounds—in the end, we are always going to be stronger together.
So what exactly is EMS Strong? Contrary to what many believe, EMS providers are not stoic heroes that are without fear, compassion or weakness. In drastic contrast, these ideas are completely the opposite of what is true: despite outward presentations, EMS providers are 100% human with very real fears, worries, emotions and faults. EMS providers must be courageous warriors on the outside while realizing that they are still just humans on the inside, quite as vulnerable as the patients they treat. EMS Strong, then, is the merging of these idea: balancing the human inside with the superhuman that the rest of the world expects (emsstrong.org).
EMS Strong is what calls providers to return each day despite the struggles experienced on the last shift. EMS strong is becoming part of the provider family and leaning upon one another as equals, silently recognizing the wounds bared by all. EMS Strong is knowing that you are part of something larger than yourself: much larger than the skills you’ve trained on, the patch stitched to your left sleeve, or the fancy lights and sirens with which your ambulance is equipped.
EMS Strong is continuing to meet the heavy demands required of you by the public in spite of the divisive and often tense relationships between persons, communities, groups and professionals. EMS Strong is recognizing your flaws, embracing them, and learning from them. And, above all else, EMS Strong is providing compassionate care to each and every patient no matter the circumstance, their backgrounds, or your own internal struggles.
When EMS week 2018 rolls around next week, if you are a provider, take the time to consider this year’s theme of EMS Strong. In your consideration, allow yourself to come to terms with your own weaknesses while also realizing your strengths. Reach out to your fellow providers to offer them support, knowing that they, too, have similar struggles. Rely on your peers to help you stay strong, nurturing the areas in your life that must be nurtured in order to keep you strong. We are human, and taking the time to recognize this will ultimately help us grows as both people and professionals of whom so many lives rely on.
If you are not in the healthcare field or serving in EMS, acknowledge those individuals you know who are actively engaged in the emergency services. Whether it be by offering a simple thank you, lending a listening ear or giving small tokens of appreciation, you, too, can play a role in keeping providers strong. With strong providers and a strong community in support of these providers, our nation can continue to be strong and promote the unity which we all wish to see—perhaps now more than ever.